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CNN This Morning

New York Judge Rules Stormy Daniels, Michael Cohen Can Testify; Trump Unable To Post $464 Million Bond In Fraud Case; Today: Ohio GOP Senate Primary A Referendum On Trump; Cuba Blames U.S. For Stirring Up Protesters. Aired 5-5:30a ET

Aired March 19, 2024 - 05:00   ET



KASIE HUNT, CNN ANCHOR: It's Tuesday, March 19th.

Right now on CNN THIS MORNING:

Donald Trump claiming it's practically impossible for him to pay a $464 million bond. Just one of two big legal problems on the horizon this morning for the former president.

Rare protests in the streets of Cuba. Why the communist government is blaming the United States.

And it's primary day. Voters are going to be voting. Republicans hoping an ugly race in Ohio will help them flip the Senate in November.


HUNT: All right. It is 5:00 a.m. here in Washington. A live look down the National Mall, Washington monument, Lincoln Memorial.

Good morning, everyone. It's wonderful to have you on this Tuesday morning. I'm Kasie Hunt.

Another incredibly busy day for the Trump legal team. A New York judge overseeing the hush money criminal trial ruling the Trump's former lawyer, Michael Cohen, and adult film star Stormy Daniels, will be allowed to testify. In a new documentary, Daniel said she feared for her life if details of what's now the hush money case came to light?


STORMY DANIELS, ADULT FILM STAR: Now, you're the whole Republican Party's problem, and they like to make their problems go away. It was really about two things: trying to keep the story from coming out so that it would not hurt my husband and my daughter and I wouldn't lose my life. And there'll be a paper trail and money trial linking me to Donald Trump, so that he could not have me killed.


HUNT: Wow.

All right. The judge also ruled the "Access Hollywood" tape can be discussed during the trial, but that it won't be shown to the jury.

Meanwhile, in the New York civil fraud case, Trump's lawyers announced he will not be able to meet a $464 million bond after 30 insurance companies said they simply can't help him. Trump needs to post the bond by Monday.

"Axios" senior politics reporter Eugene Scott here with me this morning.

Eugene, good morning.


HUNT: Let's start with the hush money case. This, of course, has been delayed a little bit because more material came to light. But this was, you know, Trump tried to avoid having Michael Cohen and Stormy Daniels be able to take the stand here.

What do you think this means?

EUGENE SCOTT, SENIOR POLITICS REPORTER, AXIOS: Well, this means is the latest example if things not going the way he wants it to go this is going to be a real issue that he's going to continue to face as he tries to balance these court appearances and campaign rallies and reminding voters or convincing enough voters I should say that he can focus on what needs to be focused on in the White House if he's going to have this ongoing legal issues.

HUNT: Yeah. Let's talk about what's going on with the bond because, you know, of course, Donald Trump built his entire brand on being wealthy, right?

SCOTT: Yes, yes.

HUNT: This case, of course, basically says, is holding them accountable for misrepresenting said wealth but these insurance companies have basically said like it would be too risky to assure you, so we're not going to, we can't. The question I have is what's next? I mean, the attorney general Letitia James has raised the prospect that they could start seizing his assets.

SCOTT: Sure, sure.

HUNT: What does that look like?

SCOTT: Well, he has a few options, right? So he's going to appeal to a court. He can appeal to a court. He can rely on a wealthy supporter.

He can -- he can sell something and his team is entertaining even bankruptcy, which none of these options are ideal, and all of these present to people that maybe this is someone who perhaps should be focused on something else right now, not only because he's distracted, but to your point earlier, maybe he just isn't who he presented himself to be.

We don't expect to see the Biden White House really mean getting, no, here, they haven't really waited in these court appearances very often, but there have been Democrats in Congress who've taken a social media and maybe some local interviews trying to make the case that they don't want their residents, there's -- the citizens of their state backing this individual.

HUNT: How does this cut politically? I mean, we know he's, you know, leaned into this idea that system is rigged against him. This was a trial where he showed up in New York defending himself. It worked for him in the primary, but I have to say, you know, a lot of times when I sort of joke its like my Walmart parking lot test covering any political race. It's like you go hang out in the Walmart parking lot, just talk to people and get a sense of yeah, of where people are.


And when you run into people that I would describe as, you know, sometimes they're swing voters, sometimes they're kind of nominal Republicans, they're not necessarily the hardest core Trump supporters, but kind of one of these basic things that people think in their minds about Donald Trump as they know him from "Celebrity Apprentice", right?

SCOTT: Yes, yes.

HUNT: They think of him as a businessman.

SCOTT: Right.

HUNT: Does this particular situation where it's going to become known that he's basically out of money that is, businesses are, you know, suspect. Do you think that hurts him with -- with that kind of a crowd, especially heading into a general election where the people that are going to decide this election are independent voters who worried about the economy, and a lot of people who sometimes it was vote and sometimes don't to whom this profile might be important?

SCOTT: I think it depends on whether or not this news, these stories get to those voters.

I was in Illinois this past weekend, which votes today in the primaries. I was using, I guess you're Walmart tests talking to people and I'm shocked at how much people don't know oh, how tuned in people aren't.

HUNT: Right.

SCOTT: There were even individuals like in Uber who still weren't sure that these two individuals are going to be the nominees. And I was like, we were there. We are there.

HUNT: Sometimes you feel like I have to say that to people, like this is going to happen? SCOTT: Yes, and part of that comes from respectfully, just not being as engaged. They're very busy. They have other things to focus on. And so if this story gets to them, perhaps that will shape how they view him and his possibilities.

HUNT: Yeah, the tune out factor is very real.

SCOTT: It's very real.

HUNT: Let's -- let's talk for a second. You mentioned the primary in Illinois. We've got this big Senate race in Ohio. That is really a Bernie Moreno who Trump was in Ohio over the weekend supporting and the rally where he used that bloodbath comment.

Let's just show a few clips of the ads and kind of what people out in Ohio are feeling around this race. Watch.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT & 2024 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We love Ohio and we love Bernie Moreno.

AD ANNOUNCER: Conservative outsider, Bernie Moreno for Senate.

MAGA alert, President Trump wants you to vote in for outsider businessman Bernie Moreno. Trump endorsed Bernie Moreno for Senate.


HUNT: So Bernie Moreno has a very specific message here, but there's still some big chunk of undecided voters in the race. And I think to a certain extent, Democrats would be happy to have Bernie Moreno as their candidate against Sherrod Brown is kind of one of the last Democrat standing statewide in Ohio. He's the senator there.

What are you looking for tonight?

SCOTT: Well, that's also -- that also reminds me of Arizona, where Democrats are glad Kari Lake is the GOP leader because they think that she is someone that they can defeat. I'll be looking to see if what Democrats really want when it comes to the general election is actually going to happen, if there's turnout is going to be as strong as they're thinking it will be. And if perhaps they can, you know, get control of the Senate or maintain control of the Senate to the degree that they think will be necessary if Biden wins the White House.

HUNT: Yeah, definitely. I would say when my -- when I -- when I talk to smart folks in this town, the thinking is Democrats have a shot to take back the House. If they were to hang onto the Senate, they would have had a very good night is very much an uphill battle.

SCOTT: Yes, yes.

HUNT: It's very much an uphill for him.

SCOTT: Absolutely. HUNT: All right. Eugene Scott, thank you so much. I appreciate it.

SCOTT: Thanks for having me.

HUNT: All right. Coming up next, a rare sight in Cuba, protests in the streets. The Cuban government is claiming that the U.S. caused it. We'll have that. Plus, the former chairman of the joint chiefs set to testify at a high-stakes hearing on the Biden administration's withdrawal from Afghanistan.

And fitness guru Richard Simmons explains what he meant when he told his fans, I'm dying. Oh, no



HUNT: Cubans taking to the streets to protest worsening economic conditions on the island. Yesterday, Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel said his government was willing to talk with demonstrators while blasting the United States. He blamed terrorists in Miami's Cuban exile community, saying they stirred up the protests online and U.S. sanctions for Cuba's increasingly bleak economy.

The State Department responded to those points.


VEDANT PATEL, DEPUTY STATE DEPARTMETN SPOKESPERSON: Let me just be quite, quite unambiguous about this, I mean, the United States is not behind these protests in Cuba and the axes accusation of that is absurd. I think what we are seeing is reflection of the dire situation on the island. We urge the Cuban government to refrain from violence and unjust detentions and are calling on the authorities to respect the Cuban citizens' right to peaceful assembly.


HUNT: All right. CNN international correspondent Max Foster joins us live from London.

Max, good morning. Always good to see you.

So, how dire is it in Cuba right now? And what are the concerns here?

MAX FOSTER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, cost of living, a lot of it. So you've got surging inflation, the peso is being devalued and Patrick Oppmann, our correspondent there, was saying that states salaries and worth less than the cost of a carton of eggs. If you don't have foreign currency, it's almost impossible to survive there. And often, obviously a lot of people employed by the state, there are paid in the local currency.

Price of fuel up by more than 500 percent. There are power cuts, there were shortages of food. I think there's a sense there as well, I was reading about the rich, poor divide, exaggerating here. What is interesting though is just seeing these demonstrations as you

know, Kasie, they normally clamp down on very quickly.


Many people arrested in one go, they don't allow these demonstrations. They are allowing it this time, and they're blaming the Americans basically.

HUNT: Basically saying -- okay, you can see this but its the fault of the United States.

So there's a Cuban born congressman, Max, Carlos Gimenez. He talks about the protests a little bit yesterday. Watch.


REP. CARLOS GIMENEZ (R), FLORIDA: They closed down the internet. They -- they become repressive. They then they put in prison those that are there -- the leaders of those movements in order to stay in power. In any, any, any regime that needs to resort to those kind of tactics shouldn't exist, because that means that the people don't want them.


HUNT: So this of course, something that plays significantly into U.S. politics in Florida, especially in communities around a Little Havana in Miami, et cetera.

What do you think -- is there going to be any international pressure here on the Cuban regime?

FOSTER: Well, first of all, if it does turn into a real crisis, food shortages, there'll be a sense that people, nations need to step in and support Cuba, a lot of pressure on the United States. But as you say, there are these political ties, particularly in Florida and the fact that sanctions are being blamed here. So, hugely sensitive, of course, to get -- for Americans to get too involved. So we'll see what other nations will watch get involved on humanity level.

But certainly, a destabilized Cuba isn't good for the region and isn't good for the United States because its such a complex relationships so much history, but there are people out chanting opposition slogans, which you haven't seen for some time. And that's it just shows how bold these protests as being in the face of a regime that can be pretty tough.

HUNT: Yeah, remarkable.

All right. Max Foster for us, live in London -- Max, thank you very much. I really appreciate it.

All right. Just ahead, a controversial immigration law in Texas blocked by the Supreme Court for now.

Plus, national security officials set to brief senators on the threat posed by TikTok.



HUNT: All right. Twenty-one minutes past the hour. Here's your morning round up.

Retired Generals Mark Milley and Kenneth McKenzie testifying at a House committee hearing this afternoon. They're going to talk about the Biden administration since chaotic 2021 withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Supreme Court blocking Texas from enforcing a controversial immigration law that allows local police to detain and arrest migrants suspected of entering the U.S. illegally. The order will stay in place until the justices rule on pending appeals laws.

Plus, President Biden, taking his pitch for four more years to Nevada and Arizona this week, he's going to focus on jobs and affordable housing. He's trying to shore up the Latino vote in two battleground states he needs to defend in November.

All right. Today, tomorrow is going to be the first day of spring, but today 25 million people are under freeze warnings from Texas to North Carolina. The colder temperatures also endangering crops in the South.

Our weatherman Van Dam breaks it down for us.

Derek, good morning. It's chilly and also spring.


HUNT: And what's happening?

VAN DAM: It's a problem. It's a problem and see what were doing is we're coming off of the warmest winter that the United States, the Lower 48 has ever recorded. So what that does is it sends because the signal to our plants, our crops, hey, we need to bud early. We need to start our growing process. The natural cycle that goes through every single year. And then we get this late seasoned freeze.

And that's the problem. That's the real concern. I mean, look at these temperatures, this is well below freezing. Many people planting their crops all the way to Atlanta. We are still not at our coldest point of the morning, which typically occurs between 6.8 in the morning. So we do believe that that will drop to around freezing or if not below freezing, and some of the local suburbs.

Now, yes, today actually is officially the first day of spring, not until late this evening, 11 6:00 p.m. eastern standard time, spring in the northern hemisphere, fall in the southern hemisphere, but it certainly wont feel like spring here, where we live in North America, 59 percent of the population over the next seven days will experience temperatures below freezing. And we already are across a wide swath of the southern states from Texas all the way to North Carolina. We did the math for you.

It's a little early to do math, but that's over 800 miles. That's just incredible. So yes, cold temperatures, and you could see how morning lows will actually drop off as we head into the weekend for places like D.C. and New York.

Today's temperature though were feeling like what we should feel like in the middle of February for Atlanta, Charleston, were average high right now have 61 while our highest 61, but that's average for the middle of January. So it's just incredible to see these temperatures.

We will warm up across the south but a cooldown anticipated across the Northeast. So expect this arctic air to continue to impact places like Minneapolis, Grand Rapids, Michigan, all the way to New York and Boston. In fact, there's few snow flurries in the air.

Just want to bring your attention to this as well. We have below freezing temperatures, but remember last week, we were in the 80s and we saw some places with tornadoes that caused the devastation across so how Indiana. So as they recover, there's the potential for freezing temperatures and making matters worse, even some snow flurries as well. So, difficult situation, yeah.

HUNT: All right. Tough out there.

All right. Our weatherman Van Dam, Derek, thank you very much. See you soon.


HUNT: Coming up next here, funding for border security on the line as lawmaker struggled to reach a really breach a budget deal, excuse me, without shutting down the government.

Plus, former presidential candidate Asa Hutchinson revealed some of what he'll do and what he won't do in the 2024 race for the White House.